High-redshift supermassive black holes: accretion through cold flows
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We use zoom-in techniques to re-simulate three high-redshift (z ≥ 5.5) haloes which host 109 M⊙ black holes from the ∼Gpc volume, MassiveBlack cosmological hydrodynamic simulation. We examine a number of factors potentially affecting supermassive black hole growth at high redshift in cosmological simulations. We find insignificant differences in the black hole accretion history by (i) varying the region over which feedback energy is deposited directly, (ii) changing mass resolution by factors of up to 64, (iii) changing the black hole seed mass by a factor of 100. Switching from the density–entropy formulation to the pressure–entropy formulation of smoothed particle hydrodynamics slightly increases the accretion rate. In general numerical details/model parameters appear to have small effects on the main fuelling mechanism for black holes at these high redshifts. The insensitivity to simulation technique seems to be a hallmark of the cold flow feeding picture of these high-z supermassive black holes. We show that the gas that participates in critical accretion phases in these massive objects at z > 6–7 is in all cases colder, denser and forms more coherent streams than the average gas in the halo. This is also mostly the case when the black hole accretion is feedback regulated (z < 6), however, the distinction is less prominent. For our resimulated haloes, cold flows appear to be a viable mechanism for forming the most massive black holes in the early universe, occurring naturally in Λ cold dark matter models of structure formation, without requiring fine-tuning of numerical parameters.